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Favorite independent pattern companies

bking | Posted in Patterns on

what are your favorite independent pattern companies?

mine include Design and Sew (Lois Ericson), Shanerin Designs, Dos de Tejas and many others. We need to promote the work of these people to ensure their continuance.


  1. Ghillie_C. | | #1

    Do you know how these can be ordered internationally? So many sites seem only to accept dollar checks not VISA or MASTERCARD which are the only sensible way of paying. (A money order costs more than a pattern)

    1. bking | | #2

      *try their web sites for ordering info:www.designand sew.comwww.dosdetejas.comwww.sewwhatsnewonthenet.com

      1. Jean_ | | #3

        *Note there is no space in designandsew.

        1. maggie_kappenstein | | #4

          *Never heard of Shanerin Designs. What kind of clothing? Is there a website? Is there a catalog?

          1. bking | | #5

            *maggie: ordered from Shanerin a couple years ago but thought i have seen them on the web. they used to advertise in threads-a musical vest. this was a vest with the lapels resembling a piano keyboard in applique. made up really cute for an intermediate sewer as myself. they also do a jacket i still want to get with a city skyline and austrian chrystals as the lights. try asking threads for the old addresss, or if you have no luck, i will search thru my old things.

          2. Ghillie_C. | | #6

            *Yes, I have seen many of these websites. The disappointing thing is that few of them offer a method of payment for those who do not have U.S. check accounts. This side of the pond it would be normal for a purchaser to supply a credit card number either in writing, by phone, or more controversially over the Web. Saves a lot of hassle with currencies etc. and I believe would increase sales.Still this is not a finance site! Having only seen illustrations of these designs I am curious about them. They seem to rely on a few, large pattern pieces. This suggests to me that they might be wasteful of fabric. Am I correct? They also have seams in strange places. Fun, but how do you alter them? For example how can you adjust for sloping shoulders if the pattern does not have a shoulder seam? Frankly I am a bit sceptical, but I will continue to search for a convenient way of buying a few to try out.

          3. Ginna | | #7

            *Ghillie - Have you checked with a bank? I was under the impression that you could have a check drawn in another currency at some US banks. If foreign (to the US) banks do this, the bank would write the check in US dollars and charge you in your currency. Most of these small pattern companies can not afford to accept credit cards - the fees are too high. But they should be able to accept a bank check.Good Luck!

          4. Jody_Richie | | #8

            *Ghillie-Where are you living in Europe? I live in Germany and have an American bank account. If you live here too, maybe we can get together. My email is [email protected]

          5. Vickie_G | | #9

            *I am a breastfeeding mom and have been sewing patterns by Elizabeth Lee Designs, they are wonderful patterns, and are written for all (and I mean even the greenest beginner can sew these patterns, more experienced people can make all kinds of alterations combining various elements from all kinds of ideas). Elizabeth was written up in the sources of the recient issue that had children's patterns, or you can do a search and locate her website. I am getting ready to combine the Piccadilly Skirt from Dos De Tojas and the top of a vested nursing dress from Elizabeth. It should make a beautiful dress.

          6. Jean_ | | #10

            *I'm a sewing gramma and I was so impressed with the patterns on this site! I wish I had known about this designer when my daughters were nursing. Here is a link for you to check them out. Elizabeth Lee Designs

          7. Ghillie_C | | #11

            *Thank you but I live near Oxford, UK. I can probably solve my personal problem by getting American friends to write checks for me, but I was trying to make a more general point.The original question asked how these designs might be promoted. By advertising them on the Web these design companies are opening up enormous world wide markets which they seem reluctant to do business with. When travelling in the States I have used my card to buy a few sandwiches, but when it would be REALLY useful to pay with plastic the vendors apparently don't want to know!

          8. Marty_Christopherson | | #12

            *I think the credit card issues is more a matter of being tied to a secure server than of actually taking credit cards. I know that Lois Ericson takes credit cards at shows, but not on her web site. Since I am not in business on the net I can only guess that secure server access costs enough to make you think twice about getting it if you aren't sure what kind of response you are going to get. But I agree with Ghillie - the net is a worldwide market and net merchants need to take that into consideration.One option - I believe that one of the reasons that businesses list on SewNet -http://www.sewnet.com/is the fact that they provide a secure server for ordering as part of their services. That is a surmise on my part, but probably a good one. There are several small pattern companies listed there as well "Sew What's New on the Net" which carries an assortment of small company patterns. Click on the Companies button on the home page.Back to the topic at hand - my forever favorite small pattern company is Design and Sew. There is just no one like her! Right now I am making up several pieces for spring from Textile Studios patterns. She is, to quote someone from one of the sewing lists I subscribe to, "mercilessly industrial" and I don't have a serger. But then am not real good about following directions anyway! I have done two pair of the basic pull on pants and am just in the process of cutting out a basic top. the pants are nice looking. Not too full in the leg, which I was worried about. I hate it when my legs flap.I picked up some Park Bench patterns at the Puyallup and they are next on the list. Beware! The Park Bench patterns are not graded. She says there is plenty of ease in them and the pattern pieces look simple enough that downsizing doesn't look be all that hard. There is a nice little, more like tiny, article about them in the January/February (#62) issue of "Sew Beautiful" if anyone is interested.While at the Puyallup I also picked up patterns from Carol Lane-Saber, the Sewing Workshop and Nancy Erickson. I had a Wonderful time!I would have to add the Caveat that none of these patterns appear to be for the newbie. The instructions can be hit or miss and on at least two of the patterns I got I was just plain horrified.Oh dear, I've written a book!Marty in Seattle

          9. Marian_ | | #13

            *On the matter of credit cards and secure servers, I think many merchants might also feel as if they don't know enough about networks to judge a secure server. (I'm in the computer racket, and I'm not sure what company I would trust to provide a secure server for my customers.) They don't want to expose their customers to something that claims to be secure but might not be, so they keep control in their own hands by taking phone orders for credit cards but not networked orders.

          10. lin_hendrix | | #14

            *Hi All,regarding the credit card thing: Another option would be to purchase the pattern from a third-party, web based vendor that already sells the particular line you're interested in. Here's some suggestions:www.sews.com/patterns/studio/studio.htmlsells Textile Studio patternsFine Line Design Fabrics, Lois Ericson, La Fred, Sewing Workshop, & ??www.finelinefabrics.comStonemountain and Daughter Fabricswww.stonemountainfabric.comHere's some other interesting pattern companies:www.sewingworkshop.com (takes online orders)www.sewnet.com/parkbench (takes credit cards by phone)www.purrfection.com (takes online orders)good luck!--lin

          11. Ghillie_C | | #15

            *I think I have cracked the international mail order problem!Full and Sassy Pattern Boutique (www.fullfab.com) stock a wide range of patterns from small independents, take credit cards and say they will mail anywhere. I have ordered three patterns each from a different company, and await the result with great interest.

          12. kdean | | #16

            *Ghillie In most banks, you should be able to get a "draft" created in foreign currency...I should know I work for Bank of America US Foreign Exchange, which has a branch in London for FX. Try one of the main branches of the bank that you use....naturally there is a charge for the draft of about 10-15US$ here but you could purchase a couple of the patterns to make it worthwhile. Worth a look.Oh and in the states...merchant pay 3-5% to Visa, Mastercard and AMEX for the pleasure of your business...I am sure that you can appreciate that can get expensive for the merchant as it comes out of the profit and they cannot add it to the bill. Lastly, while it seems a hassle, the VAT is only about 7-8% in the US as opposed to upwards of 20% in Europe and UK.....if I understand correctly.

          13. Ghillie_C | | #17

            *This is quite old history now. I solved my problem when I discovered Full and Sassy Pattern boutique http://www.fullfab.com/ Here I was able to purchase a bunch of patterns from different designers and pay for them as one credit card transaction. Very fast service too, just a pity about the name which my English friends find too silly to actually say out loud.As to the patterns themselves, I am afraid I was a little disappointed, they were pretty shapeless and over simplified for my taste and often did not give enough information, such as where the waistline or the bust point was supposed to be, to allow easy adjustment. My vote for best produced and explained pattern goes to La Fred.For the record UK VAT stands at 17.5% Buying bank drafts could easily double the cost of a pattern. I don't know what percentage a merchant pays for credit card transactions, but no mail order business would survive here if it did not accept them.

          14. Jan | | #18

            *I also like Lois Ericson and some of the others mentioned. Diane Ericson also has some very interesting designs. She is the daughter of Lois, I believe, and her web site iswww.revisions-ericson.comAnother designer I have enjoyed is Pavelka. Her designs and patterns can be viewed atwww.pavelkadesign.comThere are also a few patterns which I am considering from Birch Street Clothing. They seem good at the accessory and childrens patterns. Reach them atwww.birchstreetclothing.com

          15. Janie_Viers | | #19

            *Help, I am looking for a pattern or book that would help me create the academic regalia that is derigeur on campuses. My friend has been borrowing a robe, because the cheapest Doctoral Gown is almost $400 ( and cheap is nasty looking, and not in her tiny size)I would love to make this tiny person her own. Any body out there? There are some pretty strict rules about who gets to wear what and where it's to be located at!

          16. Chris_Knoblock | | #20

            *I like Folkwear Patterns at larkbooks.com. I like the period look to the patterns and enjoy learning about the period of each piece and learning the handwork that went into the originals.Chris.

          17. Ann_Rundle | | #21

            *My sister, Marthe Young, who does illustrations and freelance teaching for Bernina and I have just launched a small independent pattern company called My Sister's Patterns. You can see our ad in the most recent issue of Threads, on page 91.Our focus is fit and easy construction. Please email, phone or fax us for further [email protected]. Fax 513-861-2472, Phone 513-861-3209

          18. margo_anderson | | #22

            *Oh, rats! My sister and I have been planning to combine my pattern drafting skills and her vintage collection to do a line of 1920's and 30's inspired patterns. We were going to call it My Sister's Closet, I guess we need to find a different name!

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